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Treatments & Cures | Marine Section | Pond Section | How to set up an Aquarium
Setting up an aquarium
Selecting the location
When choosing a place for your fish to feel at home you need to take a few important factors into consideration: For your aquarium you need a flat, stable, horizontal location that is able to take its weight. The location must also be near an electrical socket, as you will need power for the lights and equipment in your aquarium. Do not place your aquarium in the direct sunlihgt, since sunlight can promote the unwanted growth of algae, and can lead to an uncontrolled rise in the temperature of the water.
Choose a stable table or cabinet for the aquarium to rest on. It is best to place a suitable pad between the aquarium and the base in order to smooth out any uneven surfaces. Before placing the aquarium in its final position it should be cleaned with water. Once an aquarium has been set up and filled with water it can no longer be moved - which is why it is essential to think carefully about where to place your aquarium. You should avoid placing your aqarium next to a door since the fish could be frightened by the disturbance.
Once you have found the best place for your aqaurium you can start setting it up.
For the base of the aqaurium you will need gravel with a diameter of 1 to 3mm. Before putting it into the aquarium the gravel should be cleaned thoroughly with clear water. The gravel is able to support the roots of your aquatic plants.
You can now fix the heater to one of the aquarium glass panels. The heater warm the water and ensures that the water temperature remains constant at the set level.
Most tropical aquarium fish require a water temperature of between around 24 and 27 °C.
You can now assemble the filter, which is essential for keeping the water clean and free of suspended matter. It is also ensures the biological degradation of harmful fish waste, transforming them into harmless substanses.
Your aquarium can now be decorated with suitable stones or ornaments, which are obtainable from your specialist dealer. Make sure that your fish have enough space to swim and that you have positioned the decoration accordingly so that it can not tip over. Only use types of stones that do not release substances into the water. Minerals and stones with a high lime content should be avoided.
The aquarium can now be half-filled with water. It is easiest to place a dish in the aquarium and pour the water on to the dish , letting the water run off it into the aquarium. This way, the gravel is not stirred up and the water remains clear.
Since, however, tap-water contains chlorine and heavy metals that are harmful to tropical fish, you should first treat the water with a dechlorinator, it immediately transforms tap-water into suitable for fish and plants by neutralising the harmful substances in the water.
Every time you carry out a partial water change, do not forget to add dechlorinator to the tap-water.
If you have decided to decorate your aquarium with plants you have the choice to use either live or artificial aquatic plants. Many artificial plants available today are very realistic, however, real plants perform an important task in the aquarium. In the daytime they produce oxygen and help to remove harmful substances, e.g. fish waste, from the water. Aquatic plants also act as a spawning site for some fish. After you finished putting the plants and ornaments you can top up the aquarium with water and start operating the equipment.
Take care to place large plants at the back and small plants at the front of the aquarium , giving you a better view of the fish. Before planting it is advisable to trim lengthy roots and any damaged leaves. Then carefully press the roots up to the root collar into the substrate at the base of your aquarium.
Before you can add fish to your aquarium it first needs to 'rest' for one to two weeks. During this period you need to start adding 'liquid bacteria' so that the aquarium becomes 'biologically active'. Filter bacteria begin to settle and reproduce. It is impossible to obtain a balance suitable for fish and plants without a sufficient number of such micro-organisms. By adding 'liquid bacteria' to your aquarium you can speed up the formation of micro-organisms.
Releasing the fish
Before you buy any fish you need to test the four most important water values in your aquarium. These are: nitrite (NO2), nitrate (NO3), pH-value, ammonia (NH3/NH4+). If these values are suitable you can start introducing your fish to the aquarium in stages. Do not fill your aquarium to the full capacity in one go.
To prevent the fish from becoming stressed or, in the worst case, damaged by sudden change, first place the closed transportation bag into the aquarium. Give the water in the bag time to adjust to the temperature in the aquarium. Once the temperatures are similar, open the bag and add some aquarium water to it at five-minute intervals, enabling the water values to become slowly aligned with one another.
Crutial: Fish must never be released into the aquarium without this acclimatisation phase!
It is always better to have too few fish in your aquarium than too many. Overstocking must be prevented by all means. Remember that most of your fish will still have to grow to their full size. As a general rule for the correct ratio of aqaurium size to population density fish should have 1 to 2 litres of water at their disposal per centimenter length of fish.
Feeding the fish
Once your fish have become accustomed to their new surroundings you can soon feed them.
Feed your fish 1 to 2 times a day. Give them small portions - only as mush as they can fully consume within two minutes. Avoid overfeeding and creating food residue, which impairs not only the fish's health but also the water quality.